Capital Region

Flu numbers finally start to decline

Capital Region counties have mixed results

CAPITAL REGION — For the first time in three months, the number of flu cases in New York state declined last week, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Thursday.

There were 13,703 new laboratory-confirmed cases, the state Health Department reported, down from more than 18,000 cases the week before. Hospitalizations dropped to 1,702, a 21 percent reduction and the third consecutive week of decline in that figure.

In the Capital Region, flu remained “widespread” in all counties. Most local counties, including those with the largest populations, saw a decline from the week before, but not all did.

Nationwide, this is considered to be the worst flu season in more than a decade, with flu widespread across the country, the Centers for Disease Control has said. More than 800,000 cases have been diagnosed, and there have been 97 pediatric deaths nationwide. A virulent H3N2 virus strain has predominated and the flu vaccine hasn’t prevented all illnesses, though medical experts said the vaccine reduces the severity of symptoms.

“The breadth of this year’s flu epidemic has reminded us all that we must remain vigilant in protecting ourselves and our loved ones,” Cuomo said in a statement. “Our comprehensive efforts to get New Yorkers vaccinated have greatly decreased the number of cases, but we still encourage New Yorkers to get vaccinated and take necessary steps to continue to stop the spread of this virus.”

Statewide, more than 100,000 cases have been confirmed by lab testing, and five children have died. As the season worsened to last week’s modern-record number of cases, Cuomo loosened restrictions on pharmacists vaccinating children and promised additional state reimbursements for local health department vaccination and education efforts.

“While the decrease we are seeing in both the number of laboratory-confirmed influenza cases and hospitalizations is encouraging news, New Yorkers must continue to be vigilant,” said state Health Commissioner Dr. Howard Zucker.

Zucker said it isn’t too late for people who aren’t vaccinated to get the flu shot.

Other than getting the vaccination, to prevent illness state officials are recommending frequent hand-washing with hot soapy water and use of alcohol-based hand sanitizers.

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.


  Cases for week ending Feb. 17 Cases for week ending Feb. 24 Cases, season to date
Albany County 175 159 1,298
Fulton County 41 32 254
Montgomery County 57 67 349
Rensselaer County 73 69 642
Saratoga County 248 189 1,633
Schenectady County 271 190 1,516
Schoharie County 22 25 124

Source: State Department of Health

Categories: News, Schenectady County

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